The No-News No-Column Column by Walter Brasch

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by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 6, 2009

I don’t have a column this week.

You see, I analyze and interpret the news, trying to find something that others haven’t touched. When there’s lots of news, I have a playground of riches. But during the past week, there were only two stories, and every reporter, columnist, commentator, pundit, bloviator, and blogger weighed in on it. There was nothing more I could add—from any perspective.

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Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Smacking the Hack Attack

Dandelion Salad

December 06, 2009

Climate deniers have been making a lot of noise about a set of stolen emails from one of the world’s leading climate centers, The University of East Anglia.

The spin they’re putting out is that the emails reveal what they always suspected, an evil global conspiracy.……

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Chris Hedges warns of pageantry’s perils By Brad Buchholz

Interview with Chris Hedges
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Dandelion Salad

Chris Hedges

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

By Brad Buchholz
Saturday, December 05, 2009

Chris Hedges, who wrote Empire of Illusion examines America’s identity crisis in an age of consumerism and spectacle.

Chris Hedges sees, in America, a nation that has lost its way. He sees a country that places prosperity above principle, celebrity above substance, spectacle above nuance and introspection. He sees a “timid, cowed, confused” populace disconnected from language, governed by consumerism, ambivalent toward the common good, enamored by an American myth that has no basis in the American reality.

“We are a culture that has been denied, or has passively given up, the linguistic and intellectual tools to cope with complexity, to separate illlusion from reality,” Hedges writes in his new book, “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.” “We have traded the printed word for the gleaming image. Public rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a ten-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level.


via Author warns of pageantry’s perils

From the archives:

Chris Hedges: How will we cope with our decline?

Addicted to Nonsense by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

Book Excerpt: ‘Empire of Illusion’ by Chris Hedges

Living With A Terror Suspect: Detainee U’s Landlord Tells His Story by Andy Worthington

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
6 December 2009

The man identified in legal proceedings in the UK as Detainee U is a 46-year old Algerian, who, as two High Court judges explained on December 1, “has been continuously in custody since March 2001,” held without charge or trial, on the basis of secret evidence, “save for a period from July 2008 until February 2009, when he was on bail.”

The judges’ comments came as part of a ground-breaking ruling establishing that U and another man (XC, a Pakistani student), who are both held as “terror suspects” pending deportation, could not have their bail applications refused or revoked on the basis of secret evidence. The judges drew on an enormously significant ruling by the Law Lords in June, establishing that the imposition of control orders on other “terror suspects” (who are held under a form of house arrest on the basis of secret evidence) breaches Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial, because a suspect held under a control order is not given “sufficient information about the allegations against him to enable him to give effective instructions to the special advocate assigned to him.”

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Say What? Peace Prize for a War President? by Cindy Sheehan

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by Cindy Sheehan
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Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
Dec. 6, 2009

Cindy Sheehan with "not an oath keeper"

photo from Cindy Sheehan’s
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I was in Stockholm, Sweden when it was announced that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and, even though the people of Sweden were still enamored of him, when they heard that, they (and I) were shocked.

We got over our shock a little while later when we snapped to our senses and realized what the NPP is all about—it’s an establishment prize (usually) that rewards the status quo and Obama won’t be the first warmonger to ever win it. Awarding the prize to Obama, who has not done one concrete thing for peace, just confirmed that inconvenient truth.

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Bolivia’s Morales reaches out to country’s middle class

Dandelion Salad

December 05, 2009

Polls are suggesting that Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, is likely to clinch a first-round win in Sunday’s national election.

The populist leader has already nationalised the country’s natural gas reserves, ushered in a new constitution and re-distributed land to the nations’ indigenous majority.

While his first term in office has made him immensely popular among Bolivia’s poor, it has also antagonised the country’s traditional powerbrokers.

Now Morales is trying to reach out to the country’s middle class.

Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports.

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Phyllis Bennis: US no business in the middle of Afghan civil war + Afghan war not about self-defence + India & Pakistan

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Phyllis Bennis: Obama said that there was no military solution, but that’s all he’s really offering

Phyllis Bennis is a Senior Analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. She is the author of Before and After: US Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis , Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy US Power. and Understanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer.

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